Liberate – The Girl, The Woman and Me
Having the urge to listen to old music on that rainy day, she inserted an old English song CD into her music system. This collection had songs from Michael Bolton, Eric Clapton, Roy Orbison, Dr. Alban and Lionel Richie which she sorted out only for special days when she is all alone and not in a mood to listen to the old Hindi songs which she has heard over and over again
Having the urge to listen to old music on that rainy day, she inserted an old English song CD into her music system. This collection had songs from Michael Bolton, Eric Clapton, Roy Orbison, Dr. Alban and Lionel Richie which she sorted out only for special days when she is all alone and not in a mood to listen to the old Hindi songs which she has heard over and over again.
Her mind and body started swaying to the soulful tunes. Her school days memories freshened up and she started missing her friends, recalling how all of them would sit under the tree in the one and only free period available throughout the week. The fun and fear of one of her friends secretly carrying the walkman to school and hiding it in her big lunch-box was unforgettable. Those school days were undoubtedly the best.
One after the other the songs played on, taking her to the flashback where different memories kept coming, giving an ache to be that school girl once again. Those teenage days also reminded her of the special freedom which could be experienced only with friends at school. Yes, only at school during breaks. She would go to the summer house or the green house especially made in one corner of the school by the school authorities which used to be very cool where they could sit and sing aloud, laugh their heart out and sometimes even shout out what they couldn’t do at home. That summer house was a place where you could throw out all your frustration and feel the burden draining out.
Since life has been always tough for girls, she could not help thinking of various restrictions that used to be laid down upon them whether at home or school. She has been the most bubbly and the most adjusting person as compared to her other siblings, and that has also been a reason behind more strictness being laid upon her at home. Her charming personality was always considered to be problematic by the orthodox family.
While she was still lost in thoughts, Dr. Alban’s song “It’s my life” started playing and she started relating with the title of this song. How she wished life had been easier and had the people around her been flexible or maybe not so conservative, she would have reached at a place where everyone would have been proud of her.
She had been yelled at, forced to do things against her will, had been bothered with a lot of things and still she had taken everything with a smiling face. Can’t say where that tolerance came from, probably she inherited it from her Father who has always been too peaceful with things, too patient, too positive.
There were times when she lost patience and her Grandma said “Baby! break a glass and your anger will disappear”….she tried that “therapy” and lo!…it worked. NO, she didn’t break too many glasses (who wants bones broken as a kid for being too notorious?). In any case, she was always good at holding back her anger and even forgetting about those matters (demands of the situation).
They say some memories last a long time. Hers did, too, she hasn’t forgotten anything till date. Probably that’s why she needs to share and take it all out of her for at least once. Let us go through the pages of her diary where she bares all and before you reach the end, you will find yourself relating with her to the most, the females ….I mean.
The first page of her diary is covered with smileys, and faces of Mickey and Donald, the second page has pictures of roses pasted on them, the third page has photos of her colourful bangles, a silver anklet and a close-up of her eyes.
“I have always been given the “last seat”. I could manage with anything and everything, you know. My wishes, my feelings and my desires never mattered…because I have been blessed with this great “ability” to adjust everywhere and anywhere. And all this with a smiling face but a heavy heart, sometimes burning with a desire for freedom. I still believe that you pay for your bad deeds and good ones reflect on you. It’s all done here, on this very earth and in this very birth.
I always wanted to move ahead in my own way, but I was put down every time, my ambitions gone, my passions gone, and on top of all this I was asked to behave in a certain manner all the time, like typical old time females sticking to all kinds of household work, sewing and stitching and cooking and cleaning, staying dressed up only in female attires….phew (have I missed anything)!!.
It definitely felt like being a female was a curse, well, for me at least. Was I not supposed to have a life of my own? My entire childhood went in adjustments and carrying on orders. So much for all this, I didn’t even get a chance to pick the graduation topic of my choice… my love for writing, adventure; dare-devil like life… all went unheard.
Every female, I believe, gets stuck with these situations. I never wanted to come out as a typical struggling female who is garlanded later for her super-woman like strength for fighting against all odds and then standing as an inspiration to all those “poor-you” tagged females. I just wanted to live for myself, once and for all, because I believed that if I can’t live for myself, then why do I need this life for. If I can’t keep myself happy, then there is no way I can make others happy because you need to live that word “happy”. I have said this number of times to God, standing with folded hands, never in a temple, but always near my bed.
Now when I think about praying, I clearly recall those relatives telling me that not going to a temple makes me a bad girl. Well, if the men can stand in front of the window after bathing and offer their prayers to the Sun God, why can’t I just pray in my room as and when I want?
Not to mention the number of times I went through “exhibiting” myself to the prospective grooms and their families. I hated this so much. Why can’t we think of simpler means of showing off our daughters instead of this stupid ‘tea-tray’ carrying system all through the drawing room so that “they” can see how you walk, or how you carry yourself, or actually checking that you are not lame. A graceful heart was always a back-seat, need for beautiful looks combined with perfectly healthy bride was utmost. How I wished to check the men for the same!!
It’s my life. I always wanted to dress-up my way. I love wearing shorts, jeans, more like a tom-boy, I still do …but I have always been that sensitive female deep down. Once behind closed doors, I try out the smallest possible dress (no one knows I even possess them) in my cupboard and put on make-up and check if I can really have the coolest of pout. I do not know even now how girls apply that thin streak of eyeliner but I do give it a try and really wonder about the depth of my eyes.
Eyes….friends tell me that I have deep yet sad eyes. Now how should I remove that sadness, I can’t, I laugh all the time …of course my tears flow only when I am alone. A sad heart is always soothed by a pillow, and obviously the only comfort provider for me. Not that I love crying…blame it on my tears; they just come out…just like that. There is an informative quote about tears that I have read over and over again “Tears are how our heart speaks when our lips cannot describe how much we’ve been hurt”.
God obviously had plans for her, so he made her go through a lot of ups and downs in life. She missed out on all the dreams, but getting disheartened was not her kind of life. We see people committing suicide when they face failure. Do we get this life to give it up like this? Do we even think for a second about the parents who got us into this world? Did they feed us and love us for committing suicide? No, they didn’t even think about seeing our dead bodies, just the thought of a scratch on their kids actually gives shivers to their soul.
Getting back on her life, “I remember how I used to be bullied by a lot of my own people. How every bit of freedom was taken away from me and how I was always ‘the’ scapegoat for them!! I never liked the thought of being at home alone when everyone went outside to enjoy. But I had to do that very often since ‘these’ people loved to have their own bit of fun, without having to take care of someone like me who was much younger and needed attention for the purpose of safety, not that I demanded that… it used to be a tradition that elders were always supposed to keep an eye on younger lot of the house but I hated that, so did they. Carrying me along was like an obstruction to their freedom, hence I was left alone at home with threats to my “sweet tooth” habit. I loved eating sweets and was usually given a lot, and that is something I never wanted to miss, so poor me, used to stay at home on the lame excuse of stomach-ache popping up often every time they would move out of house.
Life has always been a kind of a game where you don’t get to live your way, you always live like others tell you to unless you take your reins in your hand.
Time went by and I kept on running around, I was almost a puppet in the hands of my own people. Sometimes I even think whether it was my fault that I didn’t gather up my guts to say “No” or was it destiny. My youth went on the same way, taking orders from people and never having my own say.
As I grew up and matured with the various experiences, I understood I had to be on my own. The more I let people ‘handle’ me, the more I would sink into dungeons, a depth from where you either end up in mental asylum or as a vegetable in bed lifelong. I had seen a movie where a woman undergoes lot of torture in just every possible way and the people in the movie hall were constantly commenting on how this woman needs to fight back and live on her own…of course, they had forgotten that were in a theatre and were supposed to wait for the story to go on. But this inspired me to get hold of my life. If it can be on screen, why not in real life? I was determined…to fight.
So I made up my mind to stand against all odds, do what makes my heart happy. If I love playing in the mud, I will. If I want to climb a tree, I will. All this reminds me of my childhood when playing in the mud used to be so much fun, those days there was no tension of water scarcity, and the smell of wet soil going up the nostrils used to make its way to the heart and mind giving an extreme soothing effect. But it also brings me the bitter memories where I was subjected to a time-limit and was not given enough playing time like my other siblings. The reason being my cheerfulness which was supposed to be a ‘wrong attitude’ being born as a female. The curse of being a female has haunted me long enough but now I have learnt to stay up on my own terms.
I have now learnt to be more practical in certain situations, whereas earlier I was used to too much of sacrifice. Earlier friends used to provoke me a lot to make me leave my over-adjusting attitude, but my heart always ruled my mind.
How time makes you change?
Jingles and clanking bangles- these two sounds are loved so much by little girls and even grown-ups. I have had a love affair with bangles ever since I was a kid. And jingles, no not the Christmas song, but the jingles that every infant is made to wear when he or she starts walking so that they can be noticed wherever they go, I love those as the sound feels too good to my ears that all my senses feel fresh. The wind chimes also impress me because of the sound.”
I love eating and cooking, too. I have always enjoyed cooking for my friends, and then I have always heard my Grandma say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Now why is that, what if the man is not really a foodie, what if he eats too less with the fear of putting on weight? Too many questions in mind and none of them ever got answered.
I still love moving around. Oh yeah, I also prefer to live my life away from men…those mean creatures who only want to twist you around and feel good about it. I don’t mind being friends with them as men are good as friends, even as lover’s maybe, but not as husbands. Once they fall into that ‘husbandish’ category, a female’s life gets actually twisted. I love life, who doesn’t? I observed that men really change, the loving boyfriend changes into an over-busy arrogant husband, or he changes to the extent of ignoring you after you start paying attention to him to suit his ego.”
These bits of diary brought certain thoughts in my mind and here is how I would like to put them…
“A woman is a woman
When she has that style
Which shows in her generosity
And not just in her smile.
Generosity in her thoughts
And deep in her heart
A woman is a woman
Don’t tear her apart.
With tears in her eyes
And glittering teeth
Her heart bleeds
You don’t know what lies beneath.
A woman is a woman
She loves with purity
You love her well
And she gives you authority.
Authority to hold the reins
Of her life in your hands
Authority to demand
Till you respect that ‘band’.
A woman is a woman
Till your love is true
A heart of gold
That softens only for you.
Softens for you
Till you treat her right
This woman is a true woman
And “she” is worth a fight.”
Going ahead with diary…
“Even as a female, you have all the rights to have fun, like anyone on this earth. My dreams are still there; my heart still holds them hoping to have them come
alive in some or the other way. I also feel that “if only “cannot be eradicated from our systems, after all we are humans and those who preach to live only in the present are way beyond reality. They have either renounced the world or they are not from this world or they are pretending to be what they are not. I hate people who try to be what they are not, who love showing off, who are too much used to keeping their collars high all the time. I still think “if only I could get back my childhood, the changes that I would make in there…” “if only females could be the supreme power…” “if only my life had been simpler” and what not. But then it’s all about dreaming and making them happen…you cannot rely on others for your happiness.
Isn’t it true that “Happiness starts within you”? How many of us believe this? So what if I started making it work a little late? Better late than never, isn’t it? If you want to make things work your way, then you can. Unless you try, nothing will happen. I have these fixed mottos for life, and no one has the right to turn my mind against my happiness.
I need my freedom. No, I am not going to misuse it, I am going to show the world that I am a woman of substance. I want to reach out to people to inculcate the sense of effect and need for their individual well-being and existence. I strongly feel the need to move out and show the women that we are “the power” without whom existence and survival are not possible. I want to tell the world that if you let others play, then they will play, but if you teach them the right angles of a game, then they will keep you safe, because then they will learn from you.
Going through the ups and downs have taught me enough to create an example, and I am now determined to stay this way, I will not let people play with my feelings, or my life. I am hooked to living as per my heart’s wish.”
These few pages where her heart has been poured into, seem like every word has been written in tears, if not in blood. This is a reality check for all of us reading here. Don’t we all face something like this or even worse? Her guts made her come out and find a ground for herself, but do we all do this, can we do this? The answers to these questions may be both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as the strength to fight comes from within. Simply nodding heads and agreeing to the moral of the story is not enough.
The sound of screeching tyres made her jump, the CD player had stopped. A fast biker had applied brakes on the slippery road full of wet mud and had slipped and fallen, maybe he was trying to perform some sort of stunt. ‘I hope he had a helmet on’, she thought. Just like anyone of us, seeing this kind of an accident.
Again memories started flooding her mind about helmets and the army men and the huge trucks. She always loved those camouflage dresses and the colours. She moved out in the rain without an umbrella, watching the people gathering around the young boy. What a relief!! He was only slightly hurt, he had a helmet on…great. At least some sensible thing this youngster had done.
She looked ahead towards the rain, trying to see beyond the heavy rain she recalled the memories of a foggy morning in the village where she had often gone during rainy season with her Grandma and Grandpa.
‘If only’ those days could come back…